Hitting to an extraordinary length in Dubai today, Andy Murray completely dismantled the game of the man who has dominated world tennis for the last 14 months. The Scot, who recovered from a wobble when serving for the match, outplayed Novak Djokovic 6-2 7-5 to reach the final of the Desert Classic.
Murray got off to a great start, converting for 4-2 with some mix-and-match slice and topspin that consistently caught the world number one off guard.
The Scot survived a mini crisis on serve, but then forced the issue at 0-40 on the Serb's delivery with some agile movement. Searing groundshots of astonishing, Lendl-esque length then sealed the first set.
In the early part of the match, it was Murray's first serve that did most of the damage, with a 71% success rate backed up with 94% of first-serve points won. That trend continued in the second set, with powerhouse deliveries constantly forcing Djokovic onto his back foot and allowing the Scot to dictate the rallies.Read more (226 words)
Murray's defence was equally outstanding, though. After breaking serve immediately at the start of the second set, the world number four began to produce recoveries, such as the one at 15-40 in the second game, that simply defied the known laws of physics.
With the Serb's game looser than a bucket of fishing worms, the British number one's imperious groundshots powered him onwards to a 5-3 lead.
But, earlier this week, Murray had suggested that he rarely had issues serving out matches and, when he hooked three routine groundshots into the net to concede the game, he might have wished he'd kept quiet.
Djokovic took full advantage, but a solid service game from Murray at 5-5 steadied the ship and, when he dug deep in game 12 to wring the errors from the world number one's racket, it was all over and Djokovic's embrace at the net seemed warm and sincere.
This result may well owe much to his recent spell with new coach Ivan Lendl in Miami. However, just as a break of serve means nothing until it's consolidated, the win might need to be rubber-stamped in a probable meeting with Roger Federer in the final over the weekend.
Nevertheless, this remains an astonishing victory that will surely open up the eyes of the tennis establishment to new and intriguing possibilities at the top of the men's game.